Narrow Escape

In the following singular warning of danger, by which the life of Dr. De Wette, the celebrated German scholar was saved, we cannot see anything to favor Spiritualism. The doctor not being dead, of course it can afford no help for those who are so anxious to prove that the dead are conscious, and do communicate with the living. The account says:   

"Dr. De Wette, the famous German Biblical critic, returning home one evening between nine and ten o'clock, was surprised, on arriving opposite the house in which he resided, to see a bright light burning in his study. In fact, he was rather more than surprised, for he distinctly remembered to have extinguished the candles when he went out, an hour or two previously, locked the door and put the key in his pocket, which, upon feeling for it was still there. Pausing a moment to wonder by what means and for what purpose any one could have entered the room, he perceived the shadow of a person apparently occupied about something in a remote corner. Supposing it to be a burglar employed in rifling his trunk, he was upon the point of alarming the police, when the man advanced to the window, into full view, as if for the purpose of looking out into the street. It was De Wette himself!--the scholar, author, professor--his height, size, figure, stoop--his head, his face, his features, eyes, mouth, nose, chin, every one--skull-cap, study-gown, neck-tie, all, every thing; there was no mistaking him, no deception whatever; there stood Dr. De Wette in his own library, and he out on the street; why, he must be somebody else! The doctor instinctively grasped his body with his hands, and tried himself with the physiological tests of self-consciousness and ideality, doubtful if he could believe his senses, and black were not white, that he longer existed his former self, and stood perplexed, bewildered, and confounded, gazing at his other likeness looking out of the window. Upon the person's retiring from the window, which occurred in a few moments, De Wette resolved not to dispute the possession of his study with the other doctor before morning, and ringing at the door of a house opposite, where an acquaintance resided, he asked permission to remain over night.   

The chamber occupied by him commanded a full view of the interior of his library, and from the window he could see his other self engaged in study and meditation, now walking up and down the room, immersed in thought, now rising to search for a volume among the book-shelves, and imitating in all respects the peculiar habits of the great doctor, engaged at work and busy with cognitations. At length when the cathedral clock had had finished striking through first four and then eleven strokes, as German clocks are wont to do an hour before twelve, De Wette, number two, manifested signs of retiring to rest--took out his watch, the identical large gold one the other doctor in the other chamber felt sure was at that moment safe in his waistcoat pocket, and wound it up, removed a portion of his clothing, came to the window, closed the curtains, and in a few moments the light disappeared. De Wette, number one, waiting a little time till convinced that number two had disposed himself to sleep, retired also himself to bed, wondering very much what all this could mean.   

"Rising the next morning, he crossed the street and passed up stairs to his library. The door was fastened; he applied the key, opened it and entered. No one was there; every thing appeared in precisely the same condition in which he had left it the evening before--his pen lying on the paper as he had dropped it on going out, the candles on the table and mantlepiece evidently not having been lighted, the window curtains drawn aside as he had left them; in fine, there was not a single trace of any person having been in the room. 'Had he been insane the night before? He must have been. He was growing old—something was the matter with his eye or brain; any how he had been deceived, and it was very foolish for him to have remained away all night.' Endeavoring to satisfy his mind with some such reflections as these, he remembered he had not yet examined his bed-room. Almost ashamed to make the search, now convinced it was all a hallucination of the senses, he crossed the narrow passage-way and opened the door. He was thunderstruck! The ceiling, a lofty, massive brick arch, had fallen during the night, filling the room with rubbish, and crushing his bed into atoms. The apparition had saved the life of the great German scholar. 

"Tholuck, who was walking with me in the field near Halle, when relating the anecdote, added, upon concluding, 'I do not pretend to account for the phenomenon; no knowledge, scientific or metaphysical, in my possession, is adequate to explain it; but I have no more doubt it actually, literally did occur, than I have of the existence of the sun at noon-day."--Atlantic Monthly.”    

1862 MEC, MIRP 143

The angel of the Lord camps about those who love God.